By Stephanie Paniagua |Staff Writer|
Earlier this year, California State Governor Edmund G. Brown signed legislation AB 109 which requires 33 California prisons to release thousands of prisoners to county law enforcement agencies making them parolees, reports the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) website.
“We are the ‘R’ in the CDCR,” said Elaine Zucco, project director and manager of the Day Reporting Center (DRC), of the CDCR. “We provide the rehabilitative aspect of the CDCR.”
The Day Reporting Center is funded by a state grant through the CDCR. It is being administered through the Academic Research and Sponsored Programs Office at CSUSB.
DRC case worker Renee Garcia said “The DRC provides parolees free services to help them get back on their feet and reintegrate them back into society. The DRC offers classes such as domestic violence, anger management, critical thinking, financial planning, parenting classes, career development classes, a GED program and even computer classes. Most of which are either costly to a parolee or are just not available at all. The DRC also provides parolees with free transportation through bus passes, free clothing, housing and free meals.”
According to Scott Rennie, coordinator for the Center of Correctional Education at CSUSB, the DRC houses 64 percent of parolees that are highly recommended to have supervision over them.
In the city of San Bernardino, there are over 10,000 parolees according to the county’s probation department.
“The mission of the DRC is to help individuals change their mindset and live a more productive life,” said Zucco.
“We have over 200 active clients at the DRC and have seen great success with over 50 of them,” said Carolyn Eggleston, head project director and professor of special education at CSUSB.
Because of the DRC, 20 people have been discharged from parole, many have had their parole reduced, two are eligible to take the GED test and one client is on the Dean’s list for an online school, reported Eggleston.
“It took us six years to try and open a place like the Day Reporting Center,” said Eggleston, “We are hoping to increase our numbers through more grant proposals and funding from the state.”
“Without the DRC, I would either be in prison or on the run,” said Ephraim Armendariz, an active client at the DRC.
Armendariz said that since his start at the DRC he has earned over five certificates of completion, valuing mostly his completion of the parenting class.
“The DRC taught me that even if you read to your child over the phone you are doing something for them. I thank God for the DRC because it is helping me take care of my child,” said Armendariz.
“The DRC is something that I have been looking for a long time,” said Jerry Martinez, an active client of the DRC.
Job developer of the DRC, Eddie Rubio said, “My obligation at the DRC is to assist the clients in determining their career goals and helping them find employment.”
Rubio, a CSUSB alumnus, has helped 58 clients receive temporary employment and 13 former clientsattain full-time employment.
The DRC also offers internship opportunities for CSUSB students.
“As a result of its administration through CSUSB, the DRC has had five interns come and complete hours for graduate and doctoral programs,” said Eggleston. “We currently have graduate students doing individual tutoring and teaching classes to clients.”
Some students still speculate and worry about how San Bernardino will have an increase of parolees.
Katherine Henley, a CSUSB student, said she feels uneasy about the fact that parolees will be more likely to roam around in the area. “I think they should have to be in constant contact with their parole officers and live in an area with other parolees and have a house monitor.”
“I feel as if the prisons should not release anyone who hasn’t served their time unless they have been cooperative and deserve the right to be let go early. They can take advantage of this and not really change for the best because it was given to them by budget cuts because of the new law passed by California,” said student Annalisa Loranger.